Music Lecture Essay

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Choose only two from any of the topics below (min 200-word responses for each); writing a 400-500word essay on John Coltrane's "Alabama" piece (topic 2) can count for two topics, otherwise at 200 words, a second topic will still need to be chosen:

1. In your own words, summarize Flolu's thesis in his article, "Music in Traditional African Cultures: Beneath and Beyond the Utilitarian Factor" (see PDF below).

2. Provide details of what motivated John Coltrane's "Alabama". How does the performance of this piece reflect the sentiment behind the events of the time?  Can you hear/locate the use of musical elements discussed in the lecture, and in particular, the hopeful resolution at the end of the piece?  How do you feel this Coltrane masterpiece can be applied to today's protest movement? 

3. Introduce at least two other musical examples of responsorial form (i.e. "call and response") from other world cultures, in comparison to the "Rosie" selection here.

4. Give some detail as to the important work of Alan Lomax during the 20th century.

5.  Discuss the differences you hear between the two versions of Amazing Grace presented here. Give some background on each of the church congregations.

6. Define “code-switching” in your own words, using one or more examples from your own daily experience – you can go beyond the linguistic and musical to relate the term to other facets of life.

7.  Give your own example(s) of “ritual space” in daily life (musical or other), and describe: a) what expectations were/are set-up to be fulfilled, and b) a unique moment within that space that inspired an excited, climactic build-up for some “ecstatic” response.

8.  Summarize/discuss each of the contexts that samba has moved through along its Brazilian journey, based on the information from the Jeremy Marre film excerpt.

9. Discuss how the idea of "syncretism" can be applied to: 1) the article-file "Muslim Roots, U.S. Blues", and 2) at least one other cultural example of your own choosing, whether musical, religious, socio-political, or other.

10.  Watch the full Umm Kulthum documentary to mention: a) the importance of religious (i.e. Islamic) recitation to her expert pronunciation of Arabic in her songs; b) a personal example of how she defined the role of “artist” in her society and music; c) the effects of Egyptian political leadership on her personal/professional decisions.

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